The Gospel and God’s Righteousness
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is about the righteousness of God. Most of us are very familiar with Romans 1:16. “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes…” But it is the next verse that is so telling and which states what I believe is the theme of Paul’s letter. “For in it [the gospel] is the righteousness of God revealed…” (v. 17) In the gospel, God displays His righteousness. The better we understand the gospel, the more clearly we understand God’s righteousness (and vice versa), and the better we understand God’s righteousness, the more we appreciate the gospel.
The gospel is not, in the first place, about making people feel better about themselves, fixing their finances, making them better parents, or fixing their marriages. These are often a result of gospel application, but they are not its primary purpose. The gospel is about displaying before an unrighteous world the glory of the righteousness of God and drawing those with a hunger and thirst for righteousness to Him. It is about man’s need for a righteousness greater than his own and other than his own. In fact, man’s righteousness is not enough because he has none. Men are sinners without distinction and without dispute (Romans 3:23).
It is in the gospel that the deepest and most important need of humans is met. The righteousness man needs is offered and provided in the gospel. What God demands (perfect righteousness) He provides in Christ and the gospel.
So verse 17 of Romans 1 sets the stage for a glorious dissertation on the need, the application, and the demonstration of God’s righteousness. This is not theory but intensely practical. “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed, from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith.”
That the generation to come might know Christ,